We are only two and a half months shy of the 2020 WNBA season – and it is projected to be a big one in terms of increased ticket demand.
Expect attendance figures to be up for the W as a whole with the New York Liberty having moved out of Westchester County Center and to Barclays with an opportunity to duplicate the robust numbers the seafoam green and black drew at Madison Square Garden.
High Post Hoops reported on VividSeats data that shows an uptick in demand for WNBA tickets – with a major increase in interest for Phoenix Mercury tickets. The site reports that interest in Mercury tickets is up by 837%. The Mercury added Skylar Diggins-Smith in free agency to go along with Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. Phoenix will also be in a different arena – the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum – with Talking Stick Resort Arena undergoing renovations.
Second – is those very Liberty, whose interest is up 234%. Despite the last two seasons of losing basketball at the County Center, the outlook for New York is up as many expect them to take Sabrina Ionescu, tagged as college basketball’s best player, first overall.
Third is the Chicago Sky at 174%. Chicago will enter the 2020 season with raised expectations after a 2019 where the team nearly advanced to the semifinals of last year’s playoffs. At 152% is the Connecticut Sun which added DeWanna Bonner but lost Courtney Williams in a trade with the Atlanta Dream.
The other two teams that have seen more than 100% interest were the Indiana Fever and Dallas Wings. Indiana’s big get was a new coach in Marianne Stanley after letting go of Pokey Chatman and the Fever bring back a team that came within two games of making last season’s playoffs.
Also, Victoria Vivians will be back for Indiana (which will also make a renovation-induced arena relocation to Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University). Dallas traded Diggins-Smith in a trade, but see a young future led by Arike Ogunbowale that also has a lot of draft picks in said future too.
With Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart returning for the Seattle Storm, VividSeats had the Storm (which already drew robust attendance numbers) at a 75% increase. It also has the defending champion Washington Mystics with the most interest and a 71% increase. The Los Angeles Sparks (which added Kristi Toliver and Seimone Augustus in free agency and led the W in attendance last season) saw a 49% increase and the Minnesota Lynx were at a 19% uptick.
The Dream – one of the more active franchises this offseason noticed a 10% increase in ticket interest. Atlanta made a bevy of moves this offseason. Despite losing Angel McCoughtry, it added Williams in the trade with the Sun along with Glory Johnson, Shekinna Stricklen and Kalani Brown in separate transactions. Atlanta is also moving to Gateway Center Arena in College Park, which is near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
The only team that, according to VividSeats, saw a decrease, was the Las Vegas Aces – who added McCoughtry and are bringing back A’ja Wilson and Liz Cambage. The Aces, who are expected to contend for a championship in 2020 along with Washington, Seattle, Connecticut, Chicago, Phoenix and Los Angeles, noticed a 17% decrease in ticket interest.
It also reported that 27% of that traffic is by way of men aged 25-34. Women aged 25-34 accounted for 14% of said traffic and women ages 35-44 were responsible for 12% of that traffic.
While the overall increase will likely be met with smiles at WNBA headquarters in New York, a key issue has been to get more women to games and to draw up interest among a demographic that should be easier than others for the league to reach.